EL ESPECTADOR, June 18, 2021
(Translated by Eunice Gibson, CSN Volunteer Translator)
The European Union’s Special Envoy and EU representative for human rights is visiting Colombia to meet with the President, top authorities, and civil organizations. He will make a report on the rights violations in the Strike, and on the advances in what was agreed upon in Cuba.
Eamon Gilmore, the human rights representative of the European Union, has been visiting Colombia since last June 17, hoping to understand the depth of the social explosion being experienced in this country, to follow up on the implementation of the Agreement with the now-demobilized FARC, and to review possibilities for more support of our political community in order to advance the building of the peace.
This Friday, in a press conference, Gilmore spoke of the European Union’s concern about what was agreed in Cuba, and the implementation of that by the government. “I’m worried that the Agreement is not being implemented completely. I want to recognize the progress that has been made, especially in the work of the Transitional Justice System, in the Unit for the Search of Persons That Have Disappeared, and in the Truth Commission. The European Union supports these institutions. We also accompany the programs focused on the countryside for rural development. I believe it’s important to recognize those advances, but there are still many elements that need to be implemented,” he stated.
In that respect, he added that, now that the fifth anniversary of the Agreement with the former FARC guerrillas is nearing, there is hope that this would be an “opportunity to redouble efforts” to implement the parts that are lacking. In the meeting that he had with President Iván Duque, Gilmore talked about those aspects, but also about the protests that are part of the National Strike and his “genuine concern” about the violations of human rights.
“We have been very much concerned about the use of force. Naturally, we are alarmed. We can see that the people are taking part in a peaceful protest, and are being shot at. The meeting with the President was focused on that. I gave him the message that I have received about the violent events. The European Union is calling for a complete investigation, and seeing to it that those responsible be held accountable. We support the right to social protest, which is important in any democracy,” he said, reiterating that the management of the demonstrations has to be in a form that is proportional to the actions that are taking place.
Besides talking with Duque, Gilmore sat down with other high officials, like Emilio Archila, the Counselor for Stabilization; Juan Camilo Restrepo Gómez, Peace Commissioner; and General Jorge Luis Vargas, Director of the Police. He also spoke with the Ambassadors in Colombia from members of the European Union, as will as with other diplomats; with the Presidents of the Integrated System of Truth, Justice, Reparation and No Repetition; with the Representative of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights in Colombia; with the Chief of the United Nations Verification Mission in this country, and with the Chief of the MAPP OEA. In the same way, he met with representatives of civil society, young people, trade unionists, business owners, and the Church.
“This visit is part of the long run commitment of the European Union toward building the peace in Colombia, with respect for and promotion of human rights. Mr. Gilmore has been a permanent interlocutor with different sectors of Colombian society for the last five years, helping to build bridges and achieve agreements that allow the advance of common objectives in the country. Colombia is a key ally of the European Union and we will do everything we can to support the country during these complicated times,” stated Patricia Llombart, EU Ambassador in Colombia.
After his visit, Gilmore will prepare a report on the Peace Agreement and on his activities in connection with the Strike, and the report will be shared with the government.
 MAPP OEA is the OAS Mission to Support the Peace Process in Colombia.